How to clean an HE washing machine
- Bleach or white vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Cleaning rag
- Dish soap (this is the best one for cutting grease and grime)
- Clorox Bleach spray
- (Optional) Affresh
This goes for anything you are putting into the machine: fabric softener, color safe bleach, etc.
Step 2 – Clean the rubber seal
Pay special attention to the rubber seal around the door while cleaning the washer.
After 15 minutes I wiped it clean with bleach spray and a rag, good as new!
Step 4 – Clean the inside of the detergent compartment
Don’t stop with just sanitizing the detergent tray. You’ll also want to clean inside the detergent compartment. I was shocked to see the inside of our compartment.
If you are having a tough time getting your cleaning solution back there, try using a spray bottle. I used Clorox clean-up bleach spray to reach the back and into the nooks and crannies up top. Do you see these nooks in the top of our detergent compartment?
I used a toothbrush to scrub that area clean. After spraying into the compartment, let it sit for about 15 minutes before wiping clean.
Step 5 – Clean the inside of your washer door
Using white vinegar or bleach, clean the inside of the washer door. Sometimes you can clearly see residue built up here – but most times you can’t even tell anything is lurking. You’ll be surprised how much cleaner the door looks and the amount of scum that was hiding on the door. Here is my door looked after cleaning – sparkling new!
There is a product called Affresh that you can use with your clean cycle on the machine.
Our clean cycle runs for 1 hour 5 minutes with very hot water. I walked in occasionally to see what was going on inside the machine and there was some aggressive water sloshing. There also seemed to be a lot more water than you would have in the drum while washing clothing. So, I would suggest using your clean cycle as opposed to a regular hot water cycle.
Step 7 – Completely wipe down the inside of the washer again
Once the clean cycle has finished, open the door and thoroughly wipe down the inside of the washer again. Why? Here is the washcloth I used to wipe out the inside of the rubber seal AFTER the first clean cycle.
Step 8 – Air out your washer and the detergent tray overnight
Once the washer is clean and dry inside, leave the door and detergent compartment door open to completely air out any water residue that was missed or is hiding in areas you can’t reach.
After airing overnight, smell the washer with a fresh morning nose to see if the odor still exists. If the odor is still there, you may want to do 1 or 2 additional clean cycles to completely remove all of the residue. Don’t worry – the smell will go away. If you haven’t run your washer through this cleaning process before, you may need to do this 2-3 times to remove all of that built-up residue from the internal parts of the machine. I could tell a huge difference after one clean cycle and one overnight air dry, but it took a few additional cleanings to make it go away completely. Don’t give up too quickly!
Once you have a clean smelling washing machine, complete this cleaning process each month. Just because you got rid of the smell doesn’t mean it won’t return. You need to maintain that fresh, sweet smelling machine. Think about adding this to your monthly household cleaning maintenance program.
*Consult your owner’s manual to find out if the manufacturer has specific cleaning advice for you.
*If your machine has a filter or drain opening that you can easily access, that area may need to be inspected and cleaned. In some machines, items can get caught in the filter or drain area. A few reports I read mentioned coins or debris being stuck down there, and those items can be the mold and mildew culprit.
*Bring in a professional or a very handy person you know to help solve the issue.
*Contact the maker of your machine. Since the printing of your owner’s manual, the company may have new or better tips for you to try, or they may work with you even further to help solve the problem.
Day to day tips & maintenance:
*Use only HE detergent. I’ve heard that powdered detergent creates fewer suds for this modern washing machine, as opposed to liquid, but liquid is still fine to use, just use a smaller amount.*If possible, use detergent free from dyes and perfumes. Those additional additives may add more residue to the washing machine.
*If you are using a detergent that says it is “2x the cleaning power“, you may need to use even less of it.
*If you are concerned that you are adding too much detergent, but don’t want to cut back, consider adding the extra rinse cycle to each load. This will ensure your clothing is getting rid of the additional soap residue, as well as any residue inside the machine.
*Try to remove wet clothing from the washer immediately. I know sometimes this is easier said than done, but if you leave the wet clothing in the washing machine too long, the mildew smell is more prone to return.
*Put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in the drum after each load. This will be there for the next load and will continue to absorb smells while you aren’t using the washer.
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